New school year, new news team — NewsBreak, a program that highlights the achievements of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff, students and system, welcomes back veteran anchor Brynna Bode, a Henry E. Lackey High School senior.
Bode is joined this year by rookie newsreaders Emily Belson, a senior at Maurice J. McDonough High School; Chase Drewery, a North Point High School senior; Terrell McSears, a junior at St. Charles High School; Yachi Madaan, a Thomas Stone High School senior; Imani Tookes, a senior at Westlake High School; and Eric Valentine, a La Plata High School junior.
The students auditioned virtually and are recording segments from their homes while participating in distance learning.
The members of the 2020-21 news team are no strangers to extracurricular activities. Many are involved in sports and clubs at their respective schools.
Bode is a member of Lackey’s mock trial team, National Honor Society, the math team and It’s Academic team. She is in the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Thespian Honor Society and jazz and symphonic bands. Outside of school, Bode is active in 4-H, raising and showing livestock and likes playing the piano and participating in her church. The past two summers found Bode working in the law library of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and she plans to study engineering in college.
Belson said she tried out to be a Newsbreak anchor because it seemed like a “unique experience.” She’s no stranger to auditions. Belson is a member of McDonough’s drama club and believes NewsBreak will give her an opportunity to practice speaking on camera. “I’m excited to start working,” she said.
A member of North Point’s multi-year state champion Destination Imagination (DI) team, Drewery is familiar with the work that goes into being part of a winning team. He is a member of his school’s varsity track and field team, focused on hurdles and field events. Drewery is ranked No. 2 in the state for the triple jump event. In his free time, he produces and edits short films and videos — some of which have been featured in a Netflix miniseries. He plays the piano, violin and guitar. After college, Drewery is interested in pursuing a career in film production and directing.
The first vice president of the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC), Madaan has been active in student government for the past five years. Taking on roles within student government has improved her leadership skills, Madaan said. She is interested in advocating for the students of Maryland and enjoys dancing, music, art and reading. Madaan, who is interested in studying medicine and business management in college, is self-described “fun-loving theater nerd” who acts in Thomas Stone’s productions.
McSears is a fan of playing video games but is on the lookout for new hobbies and activities. “I was interested in this because I think it could really benefit me,” said McSears about his decision to audition for an anchor position. “It’s a long journey, so I’m trying out new stuff as I go.” He plans on attending college before enlisting as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Tookes first saw NewsBreak when she was a sixth grader. She was prompted to audition for a spot at the anchor desk as a challenge to herself. “I wanted to be placed outside of my comfort zone, and I am glad I did because it is truly an exciting opportunity,” Tookes said. She is a member of Westlake’s girls soccer team, takes part in student government and is in the Spirit Club. When not in school or the soccer field, Tookes unwinds by cooking, crocheting and knitting.
Valentine is La Plata’s student liaison to the Board of Education of Charles County. He is a member of his school’s Model UN and It’s Academic teams. He enjoys competitive swimming and playing the trumpet. Like Tookes, Valentine was introduced to NewsBreak as a youngster after being interviewed for a segment when he was in fifth grade. He is interested in studying atmospheric science in college following high school.
NewsBreak airs on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon Fios 12, at www.ccboe.com and Charles County Public Schools’ YouTube channel.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,521 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).